SECTS AND OPUS DEI
5. Community of The Chosen: Followers
One of the best studies that have appeared in Spain on the subject of
sects is that of Steven Hassan, which under the title "Las
técnicas de control mental de
las sectas y cómo combatirlas" ("The techniques of
mind control of sects and how to combat them"), tells us about
the “heavenly deception” in
which “God forgives the deception of
'chosen' if this leads to new 'spiritual children'”, and where
reiterated that they should consider the "Father" as the representative
of God on Earth.
Sectarians are inoculated with the idea that just because they are part
of the group or clan, they belong to a different caste of the chosen, a
community of the privileged, a nucleus of the called, a circle of the
Sects, with a religious component that is motivational,
lead the addict
to the need for a personal experience of God and, consequently, they
call themselves chosen, and are even inculcated with the idea that they
are "saints" in relation to others, (63) creating an artificial
Another idea that is conveyed to members of sects is the exclusive and
excluding character of their own behaviour. This exclusive condition
translates into the false idea of being part of the sect, automatically
leading to the rejection of those who do not belong to it; henceforth,
only the sect is important
and "the rest" does not count.
The most obvious mirage is that sects usually present themselves as the
"way of salvation", appearing to have the most diverse itineraries but
all of them coinciding in a common denominator in relation to the world
outside the sect itself, which is generally made to coincide with evil.
This feeling of superiority is achieved by making people believe that
all the members of the sect will survive thanks to a particular divine
This feeling of superiority generates the sensation of
being "chosen", a factor that
not only unites the group, but also
changes its morality: the "sinners" have not been "chosen", therefore
it is fair that they be eliminated.
There is no pity or forgiveness for
Another phenomenon that occurs when the whole society is made to appear
hostile is that not only is the follower isolated, but he or she is
presented with the germ of fear that, conveniently manipulated, will be
transformed into aggression when the leader orders it. (65)
In Opus Dei, the feeling that God, the Absolute, comes to you through
the Organization is even stronger. This idea that your path to full
happiness passes through the Work justifies all the submissions that
you impose or are imposed on you. (66) The longing to be happy
to end, to last forever, the longing that
made Miguel de Unamuno tremble when
he felt the agony of his Christianity, is capable of
achieving all the
renunciations, if you are convinced that they are the price of its
In the opinion of the writer Evaristo Acevedo, “Opus seems to imply
that only those Hispanics who belong to its organization "are with
This has a monopoly and exclusive character that does not fit with my
religious criteria” (67).
María Angustias Moreno, a longtime member of Opus Dei, gives us
an enlightening and illustrative testimony in this regard, “What does
the Work say about itself? That it is simple, that it is authentic;
that its members are equal to other men and women, ordinary people in
the midst of the world. However, as soon as they arrive, they insist
exhaustively that being of the Work is something wonderful, the best in
the world, the greatest. Something that, as a logical consequence,
makes others look at it as if from a pedestal: one enters the
illumination of the great mysteries, one is chosen among thousands to
form part of a perfect body; the others, what a pity! are still down
there, wrapped in the darkness of error, exposed to all the dangers. By
the fact of being part of the Work, one will always be right, the sure
doctrine will be given to those poor people who are mistaken, deformed,
ignorant and naive; because as soon as one arrives, one is already
endorsed, supported and guaranteed by the directors, especially
selected people (that is how they should conceive themselves) who
possess, because they are united to the "Father", the gift of the
unspeakable. Because the "Father" never makes mistakes, and in the Work
everything passes through the "Father": "you must pass everything
my head and my heart," Escrivá repeatedly said to the
You cannot even be a good Christian, for Opus Dei, if you have any
physical ailment or illness. No one is admitted who has not passed the
thorough medical examination to which they are subjected. The Club of
God is restricted to healthy people, as one of the numeraries of
Dei tells us in her bitter story. She was a bit shocked when, a couple
of days before "beeping" - entering the Work - she was told that she
had to have a medical examination. “What
did my state of health have to
do with being in the Work? Wasn't it important to have a vocation? Or
was it that if they discovered my kidney stones, my vocation became a
decision in the hands of the doctor? This young woman has arrhythmias,
forget everything you have told them, she cannot be of the Work? Funny,
isn't it? The reason for this procedure is not to burden a person,
apparently young and healthy, who soon after joining the Work is
discovered to have some kind of more or less serious illness, because
they would have to take care of her, and the Work does not want
prematurely ill people, even if two days before the recognition they
that she had a rock-like vocation. They didn't find
anything for me. However, they advised me not to say anything about the
doctor at home. It was necessary to be discreet.” (69)
In the little book "The Way",
written by the "charismatic leader",
are also opposite images: (70)
of man. Firstly, the shining image of the superman, fierce, arrogant,
willful, unshakable in the ideology of his leaders and with an
iron-clad contempt for the rest; God's gunman, effective and
depersonalizing, disciplined to the point of absurdity, intolerant,
inquisitive, in search of his absolute.
On the other hand, the tender image of the humble servant, a little
vulnerable, modest, tiny among the tiny, with a low gaze, his eyes
fleeing, persecuted, vexed by general hostility, masochistic at times,
hypocritical at others, a little sprightly, lukewarm in everything, a
little daring, but above all, never reckless, goes in search of a good
bed to die for love. The two images overlap and mix to form
the prototype of the "Man of Opus Dei" as he is found in life.
The members of Opus Dei have their
nullified by being presented with, and made to believe
blindly, that any attack on the Work of God is "slander" (71) when it
comes from other members of the Catholic Church.
63. "Cuadernos de realidades
sociales" ("Notebooks of social
realities"), Nos. 35-36, p 39.
64. Rodríguez, op cit, p 110.
65. Ibid, p 113.
66. Moncada, "Opus Dei: Una
interpretación", p. 116.
67. Jardiel Poncela, op cit, p 41.
68. María Angustias Moreno, "El
Opus Dei, Anexo a una historia"
("Opus Dei, Annex to a History)," 5th
edition (Madrid: Ediciones Libertarías Prodhufi, March 1992), p.
69. "La historia amarga de una
numeraria del Opus" ("The Bitter Story
of an Opus Dei Numerary"), "Marie
70. Le Vaillant, p. 28.
71. Ynfante, op cit, p 363.
Index of Chapter I